tv Key Capitol Hill Hearings CSPAN December 6, 2013 12:00am-2:00am EST
>> heavyset terms of financial strength of the family and completion. what would lead more to the class the application so that students will have a good idea of financial aid packages so they know how much they have to attend college and that would make a difference. >> mr. heath, earlier this year
i had the opportunity to here that of the $32 billion of being spent on this, nearly 1 billion of that will be going to an individual that should not receive it. what you have instituted at the community college to discourage and present waste fraud and abuse, could you expand upon that and could we reauthorize the student education act? >> yes, one of the was and it permitted daily attendance process and we tide that process so that if a student is but a
circle time right now, before that money will the process goes over to check to see that student has in fact started attending the class that the aid is going to be paying for. if they have not had an attendance record, the financial aid does not go through so we have closed the loophole between students eligible for class. >> and the students are fully aware of that? >> yes, they are. and every semester him as you might imagine, we do have a faculty that does not record attendance and a student comes in wanting to know where their money is. so it is a way to close that gap and the other thing that we have done, this is for all of our students that are only online,
prior to dispersing funds it gives us a list of all of those students and we have seen multiple students coming from the name address and we would not disperse this, we would do a further check and this includes a father-son or something akin to that. that we have not had multiple students coming from the same address. but we do have the process and placement. >> thank you very much. >> sir, you're recognized for five minutes. >> thank you, thank you for having this. i do want to thank all of you for the possible solutions for tightening up the program to make sure that we do not have waste and fraud and abuse.
and i just think that we continue to have a program that provides access to these low income students. we all want to make sure that they are not taking advantage of the system and we have all heard stories about that in the past. myself and many members have heard me talk about how i have grown up in poverty, had a single mother parent and like you, mr. dannenberg, first-generation college student and i would not have been able to get the colleges it would've been for my friends who actually came from different family situations and took all this very seriously and so i determine what i was going to do based upon that and i was able to take advantage of programs like this. last the last thing i want to see if these programs be eviscerated in one way or another.
so i think it is important that we do tread lightly. that we keep in mind what the ultimate goal is, and that is to make sure that the students who do not have this have access to college education not only for that, but for the sake of our country and the united states of america and we have to keep that picture in mind as well. in community colleges are extremely important in this country. in the state of iowa, as the governor and others have pointed out, we have identified a skills gap and how community college is very important in educating folks so that they can get into those mid-level skill jobs and they are critical on that as far as i'm concerned. i went to a small college for 24 years in a talker and it's an
important college in terms of educating. community college is really the key intersection between education and principal intersection we have to make sure that we do not restrict the environment for the students to enter into. we have to be careful that we tread lightly. i have one question for you. you mention that the year-round telnet program, something that i have championed as a number of years ago. but that has gone by the wayside and those have been used to try to restrain the cost of the pell grant program. you mention this kind of in passing on page three. >> sure, first of all, the institutions are affected by ending what has been called the
second tower and particularly black colleges in particular. the situation is that a number of students are coming in underprepared academically 45% and 45% at least one academic course. they are having to learn a postsecondary level, which is why we should have a college career ready for all students in because they were on track, they were not on track to graduate on time. what happened is that is that they were catching up. so that when they began their second year, they were actually going to be checking your students instead of a second-year student who has only 14 credits and is really a first year student or a student that has 12 credits.
the second is having an access impact, particularly at community colleges and they are hurting as a result of this reduction, not to mention us who was affected. >> thank you. i want to thank all of you for your testimony. >> i do think it's really critical that we have a balanced approach. it will actually deprive students who are willing to take the initiative and the personal responsibility, which i think that we all value. to invest themselves in these programs so they can be better students and better citizens. thank you, madam chair.
>> thank you, madam chair, thank you all for being here today. i am in a program recipient and i understand the importance of it in helping students achieve their dreams and that is why i introduced amendments that would we introduce the savings. we have talked about federal financial aid making college more affordable. it doesn't necessarily make it more affordable because it does not address the reasons that tuition fees have increased by 530% since the early 1980s, almost twice as fast as health care and 4.5 times as fast as inflation. so what are we doing to try to address the cost? of a postsecondary education. some have theorized that the increased financial aid, that somehow results in higher tuition and fees and we have increased financial aid to keep up with the whole higher tuition
fees. and i would ask that if you believe in that theory, and what your opinions are, why this has outstripped inflation so much over the last several years. >> it is very simple to come to the conclusion and it's frustrating as we pour more of this financial aid into the system, the cost of college increases. the first thing we must look at is the difference of the cost of providing education and the price they pay. the cost of providing education if he went back to the 1980s, it has run fairly parallel with inflation. but if you look at the price that students and families have been paying, it has run more than double the rate of inflation.
and the primary driver intuition is not in which it has gone up so much, but it's in that state and local governments have been this investing in higher education in 40 years ago states were covering 65% of the cost of education through privations and today they are covering 35% and the burden of paying for college has gone from the public pooling together to individual families and the way they are doing it is primarily through loans. >> you care to jump and? >> i would say that that is not explaining why it is part of this now. they have been increasing the costs to students at the same time and so i think that there is something going on with federal aid puling and enabling
universities to increase the tuition and the research that has been done shows that tell grants are not largely a part of that. and i think one possible change that could be made to determine how much a student gets for both loans and pell grants and in fact, a student will get more aid by attending a more expensive university and that formula is helping to feed the ever increasing costs. >> a few quick points, i agree with doctor robinson and there's a big difference between grant and loan aid which has the impact on tuition inflation and there is no evidence that this is driving this and it has been
cut in the past and tuition is still gone up and the main reason is because we have a relatively finite supply of providers and we have high demand that is often irrational and underinformed and we have states and institutions that take advantage of that high demand by cutting their own aid and shifting responsibility to students in the form of heightened loans and justin is right that the key is to maintain if not grow the state aid for higher education were too slow this in college tuition and fees and we argue that there isn't an opportunity for this committee to target existing programs outside and saw those funds and give them the states, the governors, create another tommy thompson out there, governor jerry brown or whoever, those who maintain the outcome when it comes to college
affordability. you guys can empower them to do that. >> mr. bishop, you're recognized for 12 minutes. >> and this has been helpful and informative and i just want to pick up from the last line of questions and answers and we have had multiple witnesses, ford this committee at the impact, real or imagined of availability relative to increasing costs. in almost without this, they have testified that there is no connection is that the principal
driver is what you just said and we ought to ssm based upon our actual experience and i think to continuously put this into the mix of our assessment what is essentially part of this, which is that this is driving the increase of costs, it is not helpful and does not help us assess the future of these programs as we would like. and i want to focus on the current status and current law. the pell will be exposed to sequestration this includes the
vantage point of your community college. >> that really is a good. >> 7% reduction, certainly is going to hurt them and it will still pay for all other classes and it will reduce the amount that they have for books and those are getting a little bit and byte on the cost of this and the students will certainly increase the borrowing that they are going to do in order to make
up for the shortfall. >> exacerbates this policy of pushing these student loans and this is the best case scenario. and the other issue with budget funding is that it pushes up against deadlines were students and parents don't have a sure picture of how much they are getting when they are trying to make these college going decisions. >> i think it's important that we absolutely focus on the future. up to a 7% reduction as a result of sequestration, over a two-year period of time. is that correct? >> yes, that is correct.
>> another issue that this committee has looked at is an idea that seems to have had great currency. on capitol hill. and this includes the idea of work-study. >> 1 gram, one long, one definition eliminates the campus-based programs, and i can see where it would be more simple for the individuals that you represent, and i think we would all agree that we are much more interested in making it simple for students as opposed to the financial aid office. with all due respect. >> if you have a student meeting
35% of the cost of attendance at a four-year public school, the additional input can make up. >> would you concur? >> yes, i do. >> peel back. >> thank you, mr. fisher. >> you're recognized for five minutes. >> thank you, madam chairwoman. i would like to start out with you. i'm from indiana and i was pleased to see that you mentioned the 21st century scholar program and with the government responsibility in and the state responsibility, can you just expand for this hearing a bit more about the 21st century scholarship program and the success that we have seen in indiana for a long period of time? >> a state programs, studies have shown the one thing they do well is tell students and
families that they may meet certain criteria at the secondary level. so the anecdote that we have come down to from our numbers as is it easier for students to say that i cannot afford to go to college or is it easier for them to say college isn't for me and what we find is that if you make a commitment of funding, they will then take rigorous studies at the secondary level to prepare themselves for college and not remediation or remedial courses and then moving to at a good persistence and completion rate, which is ultimately one of the things we want out of the pell grant program. >> that program starts the middle school. that is where they are educated about what that opportunity is for beyond high school and that helps them set the path. >> that is right. they are informed very early in the second part is that they meet the commitment not only
telling them that that's available but they have the dollars to make it available. >> or any other states doing any programs like that and what kind of success have a hat? i know that we have had just thousands of students, 100,000 students have participated in mass and the 21st century scholar program. that requires a state commitment as well and are of and the other states even contemplating a? >> although not identical, the other large state programs have been to georgia hope project. this includes eligibility changes in recent years and it's another program to georgia hope that if you have this early, it will change secondary behavior to help her them for college. and so going back to michigan, there is a kalamazoo promise program and other local promise programs for residents in those
localities. >> thank you. i would like to ask by shifting directions a moment. i was at her state's community college this is a novel concept for colleges, i understand. >> this ties into the rest of our student systems. >> and so when students come into the actual classroom, they are actually is an attendance process as they sit in the seat? >> yes, there is. >> and is that -- how long has that process put in place? >> just about two years now. >> okay. and i assume that that is because we have seen it in a lot of colleges.
and there is eight period of time when students would disappear? >> yes, that is true. >> you think that we should use that as an innovative way to ensure that students aren't taking the loan money, which we know, the students and professors have seen it happen? >> yes, we have found that that was one of the best ways, you know, to monitor that. when the subject came up two years ago with the negotiated rulemaking session for program integrity issues, as you might imagine there were a large number of organizations and schools that pushback against the concept. and so the department of education stopped short of mandating and community colleges to a look at it and thought it was, in fact, a good way to move forward. >> you have any idea of what it
cost to implement a program like that? are there many costs like a? >> no, i was never informed as to what the cost for the programming wise. i do know that except for a few faculty, it was very well received by the majority of faculty on our campus. >> are there any other comments? any other comments about the integrity issues? >> madam chair, i thank you. i yield back my time. >> thank you, mrs. brooks. i think that we have the opportunity to ask the panel members to submit information to us after the hearing on that issue. so we are happy to look into that. mr. kohl, you're recognized for five minutes. >> thank you, madam chair. let me just get a few facts straight. first, sir, i believe you have
said that the current pell grant is about a third of the cost of attending a public institution going back 3.5 decades and was nearly three quarters of the cost of attending a public institution. is that correct? >> yes. >> mr. dannenberg, i have here some figures for rutgers university that shows the state appropriations going to rutgers in the dollar amount is less now than it was 20 years ago. and over the last more than two decades, it has gone from 65% of the costs being paid by the state in 35% being paid out of tuition and fees to just the
opposite. so are those -- are those figures typical of states around the country? >> yes. >> so the pell grants are more important than ever, but significantly smaller. so now let me get to the big picture here. is it established that this cost is the greatest determinant of attending college? >> yes, the number one reason that students cited for not attending or dropping out is cost and financial concerns. >> as i hear from corporate planners and economists, we need more and not fewer college-educated workers in this country. and do any of you know any estimates by economists of the
benefit to our economy of having half a million or 1 million or 10 million more college educated workers? >> i don't have those numbers at my fingertips and the economist have this that are happy to submit for the record and the other point i'd make i would make is that not only have decided the benefits societally and individually for people completing an education, but even going through some college has economic benefits for the community and an individual. >> so even if there is a dropout rate that is higher than we would like for pell grant recipients, getting them into college has benefits to you and me and our constituents? >> yes, it does. and there is a question to be asked here. to be eligible for a pell grant, you have to be enrolled in a program that is leading to a certificate or a degree. but there are into instances where there are dollars lacking
with workforce development or training, some students have no intention of completing a certificate or a degree in their intention is to take courses to increase this. >> some of the discussion today has dealt with waste and fraud in the effects of college aid, and the preparation of those receiving the pell grants and particularly for those who are on the short end of the privileged. but i don't want to lose the big picture for what we are debating. it was determined that it was very much in the national interest to help people go to college. just as it was determined including when the g.i. bill was bill was passed and it was in the national interest in dollars
and cents to help people go to college. my question is, are we even close to a shrinking marginal return on the number -- the benefit we get from those people who'll be incentivized to go to college because a pell grant, are we even close? to getting a shrinking marginal return? you will quickly want to address that. >> we are not even close. the difference in annual earnings between someone with a bachelors degree bachelor's degree versus a high school diploma is $20,000 per year. that translates into $5000 per year. >> may be especially we have a national deficit. spending money on pell grants is a big investment for our taxpayers.
>> thank you and it highlights come as it highlights in her testimony, the importance of moving of the nation. >> i grew up in a single parent family and i understand because i have lived the importance of these degrees. the world has changed a lot in the last 40 years and i would say that the federal financial aid system is one of the greatest in the history of the federal government. when our one uncle was accessed and we have provided access to higher education for people in this country like i've never seen before.
the challenge is that when these programs started 40 years ago, access was enough and if you look at the income potential of someone who had just a little time in college, your income could be higher. of course, today that has changed and if you don't graduate with a degree that adds value to society, your income will not be higher than many people are now moving from a system that provides access alone to one that can sense the success that we are making peoples people's lives better. while this has all happened, costs show that they are now leaving if they don't get it agree with that as well. were they are literally wore socks. and this includes kate through 12 in indiana.
this includes a set of tools to make sure that we are good. so we used to add this as a society and we measured that as he would now come you had to enter your senior year and then we started as a country to measure from freshman to senior year and what i found was that once the school saw that real graduation rate, they were quick to the table to bring their own innovative reforms and we have made a lot of change. so if you could expand this little i think that measuring success rates, it would give us an opportunity to see where we are and develop the policies to better spend that money in ways that lead to student success. >> one of my frustrations has been how very difficult it has
been about the success rates. in the federal data comes out about once every 10 years and recently we have seen more information forthcoming with the university system, just publishing this information from that, we are actually going to be able to move forward and see what works and what doesn't. but i would absolutely like to see graduation rates published that we can move to focus in on this and how we can make sure that students get from that access to success and i think that one way of doing that is requiring universities disclosing and they don't have to report this information, but that would be a necessary steps that we have this the information available to answer one of the outstanding questions about what helps people be
successful. >> my next question, i was very intrigued and this includes increasing the flexibility for nontraditional students in what has changed in 40 years as we have a system focused on a sort of number of kids showing up, and that is not students in today's world. could you talk about this discussion providing flex ability for nontraditional students? >> the nontraditional student or contemporary student, if you will, 75% of students are now going part time. many of us think that limiting the months of this or semesters of this that a student can get was really a good move, within that we are now seeing the part-time student actually
getting hurt because their eligibility is being used quicker because they really should only be taking nine credits and it's not good for a students to take 11 credits when they really should only be taking -- you know, because her schedule is such that their time commitments require more family time and work time and we don't want to see them using of that lifetime eligibility quicker than what they really should be doing. so that's one of the things that we are concerned about. >> thank you. >> thank you, thank you very much. you are recognized by minutes. >> thank you for holding this hearing today. the important tool for increasing college access, like many others i worked my way through community college and law school with a combination of grants and loans and work
studies. and so i appreciate the importance of what we are working on today and we believe that we should have this today regardless of his or her socioeconomic status and it is the basis of our federal financial aid system and this is an important topic that we are talking about. i want to go back to the discussion about the investments by states and higher education and the university gets about 5% of its funding from the state. so i'm going ask mr. dannenberg about this and i agree with your concerns and the issue of state funding and how has that been a part of this one relying on the pell grant program. i understand that it affects this need for more financial aid. >> it has had a tremendous effect on the pell grant
program, making it more essential than ever when it comes to low student access. the other thing to keep in mind is that when states cut back this for institutions, the individual institutions then change the nature of their aid to students and they start emphasizing this instead of need-based aid in order to attract students who are able to pay something. so this is a double head and it is more important because the states are pulling back from institutions and tuition is going up and they are also responding by shifting from need-based aid to non-need-based aid. >> thank you. i also really think we need some innovative thinking here and we are starting to pay it back and we are interested in that study. he talked about the pell grant grant promised. how would such a program be implemented successfully and what support would be needed if we were to do something like
that at the federal level? >> the benefits of this, we have talked about it from the federal level and i think that very little would be to change except that it could be modeled on something like they do with social security today in that piece of knowledge supposedly is empowering people to hopefully make wise decisions during requirement, so that someone has already utilized a state or men federal means and we know that they are low income and that the longitudinal study is included in my written remarks and that the income levels don't change greatly from middle school to high school to college. if you are poor, unfortunately you're going to continue to be poor when you went to college we can identify them early and hopefully effectuate positive outcomes in secondary school. >> and your testimony you
mentioned that you are believe that only very low income students, they should receive pell grants. so if in fact the proposals that you suggest are part of this, would they drop out or not start college or take on more on deck when apple would it would have been on the students who are currently eligible who wouldn't be eligible under your proposals? >> the students would have accommodation of things in order to achieve some kind of higher education. some of them might in fact take out loans and the reason is the limited research that is available shows that for those students they actually respond better compared to grants that they do not have to pay back.
>> you mentioned limited research and you know how many students were studied in that particular study? that was intriguing. he said that middle income students don't benefit from the pell grants and i found that surprising. >> i will have to go back and look at it or you. >> thank you. >> mr. dannenberg, do you have thoughts on what would happen if we limited the pell grants and more students would have to lie on a? >> is important to keep in mind that we have the great secret and over 40% are going to community colleges and the idea that students are going to less expensive colleges, it is far from the face of the data. what is going to happen is that students will drop out and they will go from full-time status to part-time status and if they do, they will be much less likely to complete. >> thank you. i see my time has expired.
>> thank you. mr. thompson, you are recognized for five minutes. >> madam chair, thank you for hosting this hearing. the witnesses, thank you for bringing the expertise here. obviously, but even 10 years ago talking about the typical student that has changed radically and will continue to evolve and i know when i went to college, my cohorts, we were largely 18 to 22-year-olds and it is determining how we make these programs flexible enough to meet pupils educational needs at every point in their lifetime. and the key to that is success, education, and we need a dynamic program and there's no doubt about that. coming back to a couple points in the testimony. what percentage of students
nationally require remedial education? >> i don't have that number readily available. i do know that i have been told that it is a relatively high number, but in context, some of those students are testing into the medial math and one of the reasons is that they were really good students in high school, they had taken us when they went to do the testing, they were showing that they needed a developmental class and this is some context there. there's a high number of. >> i just spent some time in southern arizona talking with the officers with the educational system there. they were mediation is a big part of what they do there as
well. so it is across the board. any idea how much of what we use at this point? >> no, but we do know that students can take up to 30 credits were the equivalent of remedial courses in pell grants will pay for it. but normally students are stopping short of that because they are just not able to continue and pass their courses. >> you look like you had your hand on the buzzer. >> about one and three in three college students are taking this nationally. 50% are remediating in just about a third in school. tall cans cannot be used solely for mediation. they can take it if it's integrated into a program and as rich pointed out, there is a cap on how much can be taken through
the pell grant. although it may not be an insignificant dollar amount, it's not limited by any means. >> doctor robinson, your testimony talks about a full-time student from 12 to 15 credits as an option to encourage college completion. and the benefits they are kind of obvious, obviously of reducing the overall role of debt, in order to earn your return on investment sooner and it's not the degree that the value, but the return on this that is the value. thoughts on the impact this would have, given the nontraditional students, and obviously our educational system needs to be more flexible with different parts throughout a person's lifetime and pell eligible students as well.
>> i think this comes in looking at how you go from not t think g at how you go from not taking our point and the way that you prorate this makes a big difference. i think that as was mentioned, it you pay the same and i think the prorating should actually be 11 and nine, 10, all of those are prorated and students are using this as they are taking courses in not having to pay for time that they are not taking. i think it also should be coupled with this so students can go over the summer. the main point in going from 12 to 15 if that someone is currently full-time at 12 hours, that person would be much better off so that they can, as you said, don't have debt and don't have six years of better fighters of debt when they do come out.
>> my last is the request of all the panels. a key part is developing financial literacy among students and parents. so they are choosing this with an internal investment in that they have that in the end. so just ask if you could submit to the committee, any thoughts or a recommend of research that you have seen on how we increase financial literacy among, probably more specifically the traditional, what has been, that post high school, post secondary into college that would be very helpful. >> thank you all for being here
>> it wasn't even considered tuition on. basically they are shocked by that met the shift of 75%, essentially to students, less than 25. so many do have to look for other sources of income. i wanted to ask you a little bit more, i know that your comment and comment had been asked earlier. telegrams with moderate to middle-class students, i think 35,000 or so, i'm not sure that that is always middle-class in everyone's mind. whether they are less likely to graduate. what is the cause of that there? >> it is based on the beginning longitudinal study and it appears that the causal relationship is that in the
income group they are more responsive that they will have to pay back the knowledge that they have a loan that they will have to pay back at the end of it makes them more likely to graduate. >> these are for students? >> yes, the authors of this study only speculate on the causation and they know that this is research that really can't establish a causal pattern and only a relationship. that is what they found based that is what they found based upon research. >> is there anyone else would like to comment on this? >> how does that stack up? >> i think one of the most interesting pieces of research out there with need-based aid was done by a series of individuals and it was published by the national bureau of
individual research. basically they looked at how students were getting a supplemental need-based aid program in wisconsin and those who are not, what they found was a thousand dollars in additional need-based aid and those students were going to return for a second year of study at a rate of three to four -- a little over 4% higher. so the point is that increased investment and it increases the likelihood of attention and therefore congressional completion. >> is there a sentence that the community is counting on those students in some way? that they are more accessible and more value, that they have a contribution to make and to give back? >> i think that is especially true with the promise programs that justin was referencing.
but since i am giving him a pause, also criticized the idea that we can just give students in eighth grade a statement of how much financial aid they will get and that will drive them to school. it is not enough. americans overestimate the cost of higher education what indiana does is much better. they provide a guarantee that you can go to school tuition free and the number isn't enough. but the concept. >> okay. >> one of the things that you mentioned earlier is that rather than targeting students, that you target the schools in terms of making some of the changes that need to be done. and also there are loans as well that we need to deal with. could he be expensive about that. and are there ideas out there now that are out-of-the-box thinking that people talk about the we but we are not quite willing to move forward with? >> yes, you are absolutely right
and i think that that has been a big area that we have neglected. the importance of institutional role and increased non-based aid. what it does is it makes determine if not a difference and we see similar institutions and they get dramatically different results in one of the outside of the box ideas is that any efforts to hide to hold institutions accountable for their performance in terms of increased completion. san diego state is one of the better schools in the country when it comes to completion among low income minority students. >> a lot of that is based upon support systems and a host of other community organizations. we thank you very much.
>> thank you very much.ch. >> thank you very much. ms. wilson, you are recognized for five minutes. >> thank you, madam chair, thank you for holding this hearing today. the federal pell grant program is a lifeline for more than 9 million students every year. the program can make the difference between a life of poverty and a meaningful middle-class career. the pell grant program is also a lifeline for america's economy. for african-americans and latino students, education is the only steppingstone out of poverty. there are very few dollars to inherit from the family trusts and very few african-americans and latinos that can save enough to send their children to college. so the pell grant
college. so the pell grant is key. we need more students to undertake high education in order to close this skill gap and boost the productivity. so many families are struggling to cover the rising costs, while some exaggerate the funding gap with regard to pell, the program has been cut by more than 50 billion and is projected to remain stable and it's very important to note that 40% of the growth is 2008 and 2009 has been part of this for the increased eligible student of high unemployment not due to quality changes. what this says to me is that we can reduce the cost of the pell grant program by getting
americans working again. once we get them working again, we will have fewer enrollees with fewer families required assistance. so we have to turn back to the regular focus on jobs and i have a few questions for all of our witnesses. while there is a focus on completion pressure and nontraditional school year models taking classes in the summer months as often impossible for low-income students who support themselves and other family members in what is a reasonable number for which someone should be eligible for the pell grants, taking into consideration the factors that are part of low-income students, especially latinos and african-americans. >> from our perspective, the aggregate limit may not be off.
six years of full-time eligibility may not be the wrong number. what we would advocate for is more flexibility that students could enroll on an ongoing basis. so they say i'm going to then increase the likelihood if i am not returning that they can continue to stay continuously enrolled by providing them again, and a wealth of pell grant funds. >> there has been a lot of talk about the contemporary student. which i think is a good term as well. the contemporary bachelors student gets their degree in fighters and not for yours. we talked about 150% over six years and that is working off of an old and antiquated calendar of four years to a bachelors degree and i think that we need to ask ourselves whether we should be pulling back on the amount of eligibility in terms
of time and dollars. >> we have talked a lot about investing in the states and i would like to find out what you think can be done to ensure that this in higher education funding on the state level does not continue to erode the purchasing power of the health grant. and what can be done to help without? >> i'm looking at this because he is the champion that if you are in the small grant program, it appears in the american recovery and investment act, states are responsive particularly to this provision
and that is the problem is that it is too small. what can be done? the feds can provide funds to states and institutions in order to leverage the increased support either in terms of this or pushing on the institutions to keep costs the costs down. you can do that by targeting this outside of the unsubsidized ones. >> is there anyone else on incentivizing ideas to invest more in in-state colleges? >> doctor robinson, you said and i would like you to elaborate further on limited studies that show that some respond better to loans into grants. have you found -- what have you found to be the impacts of high
debt burdens and purchasing power and lifetime career prospects? >> i'm going to ask doctor robinson and she would submit a response to you since you are out of time. i would commend to you the study that doctor robinson has authored in regards to where it is all go. i am sure she will make available to you a copy of that and it has a great ugly author fee in it as well. >> thank you. we did have a go at putting this into the stimulus on that with some effect with what we have out there. but it's very small and we had quite a fight just to get back
including putting something at risk. so when i look at your comment and institutional fund for needy students to be given a guarantee, can you explain more what of any of those were and how that would work? >> sure. >> we have identified these that can be reduced and so let me start with the low hanging fruit. the hope scholarship used to limit out this and the family income and that is the 80th percentile. in this includes the tax benefits markedly and this has been a laudable accomplishment. but it also increases the income
mentioned the cost of books for students. we filed some legislation trying to get the textbook materials more accessible to online to reduce the cost. can anyone speak to the cost of high textbooks? >> acosta of textbooks definitely has increased over the last number of years and goes up every year. most institutions that i am familiar with have a variety of ways that students can get those books. we implemented a program they kiev rent the textbooks so we always have the buyback provision to bring them back at the end of the semester. they can read to them.
they have the opportunity to purchase a textbook as a nod to college provider right now what we have not been able to solve is the community college students who want to buy books electronically ian to provide them money up front so they can get those textbooks electronically. in providing money up front when students took the money then did not show up for class. so to balance that issue is the ongoing problem for us. >> geithner yield myself five minutes. dr. robin said, taxpayers
deserve to know if there hardart money is spent appropriately by the government. you talk about the lack of the data points to show hall pell grant students are very id college. we have talked a lot but into the of coming reauthorization. them on how cold granite students are doing? >> the first fix is to enforce what was already started in 2008 the higher education reauthorization of for the disclosure at institutional levels to require that was reported it is only minimally useful if
the department of education can get the information on the wide scale basis and that is what we need to do any type of methodological look at how the pell grant students are doing. beginning post secondary watching to build data are extremely important. it would be very nice of that could be done more often in. beginning in 2003 or 2004 we cannot expect any new data for quite some time. maybe every five years would be considerably more helpful because it is that longitudinal data that -- data that allows us to see what happens the moment a
student enters to where they are 10 years later he and most importantly that must be transparent the department of education needs to look at the data but outside some organizations to individual institutions can add a lot of insight if they have access to a meaningful data. >> said reforms that you talk about oho it your testimony can that not dramatically increase the cost of the program? how can we ensure that does not continue to grow over the next five or six years? >> we have already seen the
cost of the pell grant program level leg out because of a partial or slow recovery and congress has rolled back the eligibility criteria originally implemented seven years ago and i have an index of those changes but we don't believe it would cost dramatically more because congress already pled limitations to the full extent students could use the pell grant now we talk about making that earlier with more flexibility so that contemporary student could use that for the innovative learning model program or competency based or the ongoing basis and tell they have exhausted eligibility.
>> thank you very much. how can the federal government assist institutions to prevent fraud while easing the burden on bridge will a offices? >> i take if they continue to do and this was a problem nationwide, the follow-up with the students to follow up when they come in the is extensive but what we have found many of those students for not legitimate. those transcripts showed little or no academic progress whatsoever. they can continue to do to
put into place but certainly require every college movie from school to school that they have been thoroughly reviewed and those not progress saying it academically that the eligibility for financial aid simply is not there coming through the door that they would have to establish their own academic record at the college. >> state you to all witnesses here today you are a distinguished panel and we appreciate you taking the time to appear before the subcommittee today you have given us a lot to think about your testimony is pretty expansive there is a lot to read and consider.
on behalf of the ranking member of what to thank you for your efforts here today your work and did various devices backhouse your availability to formulate policies. space to strengthen the bill grants program aunt with the affordability as a top priority so if your help thinking everybody for the work of this hearing. >> most of my colleagues have made comments about with low incomes of families working their way through college any of us who have
been involved with education and understand the value of the tel grant program i will say not only did i come from a low income family working breakthrough school but i worked with students who received telegrams. i was surrounded 1972 when the program started and i remember very well working with upward bound students in the program for this attrited just appellation an african-american student so i am very well aware of the value of financial a day of the pell grant program. i know we want to strengthen the program so it is available to the truly needy
student because there are students out there who need it a and who can benefit from the program a and our culture as a result of higher education. we want to utilize these hearings to highlight the problems that consist touche be sure they keep up with ever universities that are educating students. i have noticed a plethora of dueling statistics. so we need to keep in mind how we utilize statistics several of you have discussed the buying power the net yet calculated by
the congressional research services it covers approximately 72 percent of the published in-state tuition and fees of for your public institutions. we know it covers enough to community colleges. we can advise statistics for our arguments we need to make sure that we'll understand the context in which the statistics are used as a user further hearings and i think that all of you have pointed out the need to get reliable information and i faked all of us are to make sure the truly needy students are
>> i was tremendously grateful that god will give me another chayevsky. i had breast cancer and i had survived that. now i was confronted with addiction. by golly i've made up my mind i would survive that also. >> al is upset with the president because it wasn't the mental health word he said they'd never showed up and the more. one of the press people nobody ever covers my meetings she said it just is
[inaudible conversations] >> please make your way to your seats. one of the things you will learn about human rights at the summit was the amazing board we're blessed with it is my pleasure to introduce another member. jim ziegler has had more than four decades of public policy management, finance and law and academia and no stranger to historic moments. he started his law career as a clerk during the 1972 term when he wrote the role of the way decision. married 30 years later
george to be bush appointed him commissioner of the ims weeks before the attack of september 11. he served as assistant secretary to the interior of the reagan did and restoration and a sergeant in arms of the united states senate and president and ceo and currently a senior fellow where he focuses on immigration policy and border control and security initiatives. as a board member we have been incredibly blessed with his expertise that have been invaluable to navigate complex political challenges. please join me to welcome jim ziegler. >> 84 that kind and generous
introduction is a particular pleasure to introduce our keynote speaker. patrick leahy for -- patrick leahy from the great state of vermont. it is my pleasure because i consider him to be a good friend and for all of you out there it is possible for republicans or democrats to be friends in washington today. it is not easy but it is possible but a special honor because he is a real honest to goodness champion of the causes human rights for everyone everywhere. without reservation there is no greater champion of human
rights of the u.s. congress and our friend patrick leahy. he is determined with his heroic work to the advance human rights is too extensive in detail to give him a chance to talk but with two or three of his large accomplishments but before i do that i want to mention i had an opportunity on a personal level to see his work up close and as the senator knows he has to keep an eye on these guys so i can tell you as commissioner to the ims if you ignore him you do it at your own peril. he does a lot of things below the radar to make a
big difference in the lives of a lot of people who would otherwise fall through the? he is not a show horse but a work force. the longtime leader against land mines and in 1982 started to ban the export of these weapons in san spearheaded the effort in congress to aid the victims to create a special fund known as the war victims fund and that has now provides about $12,000,007 and paid to these horrible bob this. in 1987 as senator it sponsors historic legislation appropriately known as the lady law that prohibits the department of
defense from providing military aid to a foreign military enforces setting gauge its human-rights a and he'd never stops leaving gandhi issued to our mission with said chief sponsor of the act to eliminate useless hurdles for persecuting refugees to receiving a safe haven will also t. buckley senator leahy to fight counterterrorism problems problems, policies that respect human rights. id 2009 he called for the creation of the independent commission to investigate our own government's use of torture in the post 9/11 era. unfortunately that has not come to pass yet. senator leahy has a strong record of success because he
is a turret blown dash determined pragmatist and a the lists less interested in making a statement and making change. and working with republicans on human rights for example, him and senator rubio are in the process to try to get the reauthorization of the trafficking victims' protection act. want to close by sharing a little secret patrick leahy is now one disserving u.s. senator and president pro tem of the senate but don't tell him that because we although it is true that he is just getting started. i hope he will give a warm welcome to the honorable
patrick leahy. [applause] >> faq all. thank you for that wonderful not totally deserved introduction but i will take it to. jim is one of the finest public servants that i have noted the their party and i told him when he was in the senate he set a goal for everybody else to follow it but was best for the senate we have a chance to get caught up in our connections
to vermont but also with the name mike patrick leahy the mother is first-generation italian-american and so we compare the of relatives in the board members who made this possible. what you are doing is so important and of some ways i have long been admired the human-rights work and before that and what you do every day helps all of us. your research and advocacy has been extremely important with the legislation i have tried to pass. a few topics to encourage
you to you don't stop but keep doing with you are doing. each of us feels a responsibility to defend the fundamental freedoms their principles that defied our humanity regarded as universal off did violated it denied by the various governments whose responsibility it is to protect. now we know in the history of the devastates ground breaking human-rights leadership and also tragic failures. the bill of rights. inspire the universal declaration even did the constitution's been in
support of the rights of people with disabilities or women, immigrants for what we can accomplish if we persevere against longstanding president -- presidents but to further support for those with the improvements of violence against women act at least what we have accomplished so far as us said it comprehensive immigration i am so honored you will the recognize a bob dole. i was there when he was the republican leader in the senate a man of integrity.
more than two decades ago. it was a great milestone and he deserves our gratitude and praise. if we had more leaders like senator dole, leaders who are willing to put aside petty political differences as they try to find common ground for the best of the nation we would all be better off and we need leaders like that in both the senate and the house. but but the japanese internment of japanese citizens during world war ii
that is something that this birch's our history or the segregation was up held by our own u.s. supreme court. the we cannot close guantanamo or end the mass incarceration. these are not the bright lights of our history. with their standing is a globe poll leader of human-rights. and that is of their own mistakes in 1897 is known as the leahy lot. and we tried to explain it and we thought we would see. he was right provided no the we should no longer provide
trading equipment to foreign security forces that murder innocent civilians you would think we can all agree upon as americans. but it happened many times we were given aid to a country that would be used to murder or torture their own citizens. everything this country stands for. as a global defender of human rights people say look what your age is doing in this country. so under the laky law that cuts that a off is the most effective tool with those that commit atrocities and also to provide an incentive for foreign governments with police officers holding them accountable.
these are rights we americans take for granted and take great pride. we should not hesitate to speak up if the rights are violated anywhere. our country or anywhere else. those that have been subjected to brutality, isolation, the torture, i am awed by their courage and their spirit. and the fact they never give up. we have the responsibility to support them. party labels and joined together.
and to fully recover from the 9/11 attacks in continue to mourn horrific losses and innocent lives on that day. against future attacks. with the ill-conceived practices put in place after an 11. before i doubt if it be of us could have imagined torture that members of congress of both parties have condemned to be used by the oppressive government by top u.s. officials as a legitimate practice of the 24 century. we must not allow to be cloaked with euphemisms of enhanced interrogations
techniques or the analysis that goes contrary to the moral core of our country. to put to the definite tension with the open-ended ill-defined war on terrorism. we have spoken out so many times how can we justify? but there is no justification. [applause] i feel that the prisoners from guantanamo the basic principles of justice as a champion of human rights is
helping than national security but actually harming it. but to not charge or without trial to those who are condemned to definitely we should not authorize it around country. i am hearted by the incremental with this year's defense authorization bill we have to do more to insure guantanamo is close. let's remove this point let's remove this plight. [applause] and to continue the work
drones could be used to arm to conflict with only with international humanitarian law. with lethal operations using drones in pakistan and afghanistan and yemen some of the population. i remain very concerned about the lack of transparency and the use of six pitcher strikes that raises a very serious questions with the drones comply with the vegetarian vegetarian, -- humanitarian law to continue this precedent for the rest of the world including the other countries said have terrible records we ought to be as transparent as possible and if they follow
international law i would suggest maybe it is time to look at international law in this area and maybe it is time to have tiding and changes that i for one would like to see that. i never hesitate to criticize so i criticize my own government to live up to the standards reid demand of others but let me use one area i think of the international treaty of pending land mines and the continuing tread as victims of war because the vast majority of people were harmed to were injured or
killed by landmines not combat since the innocent civilians. there is no land mine treaty demanding every single nato country save one has signed it. that one of the most powerful nation on terrorists come with the united states if that is not the leadership by expected my government. clinton and george w. bush and the obama of the administration have not joint this issue. i ask what kind of message does this sent the rest of so world with no lack of leadership? we should just sign that we spend hundreds of billions of dollars removing the land mines we use the leahy war victims fund to help victims
around the world what are be afraid of? we have another they he law that we cannot export them to show courage only takes a little bit like every one of our allies. is that so difficult? on november 22nd to the great loss this country suffered when kennedy was assassinated. standing right out here at this quarter hundreds of thousands of people on the street yet was so silent you could hear the drones. you could hear the click you could hear the street lights
as they changed and the drums of the horses as they came up pennsylvania avenue. i have been thinking about that a lot and what it felt like as the two youngsters still in the year i thought of what kennedy said of the memorable inaugural address to permit the slow undoing the human-rights to which we are committed a row of the world this was john kennedy. may have lost 53 years since then but i would argue was the most important things we can do for our country is
subcommittee on memorial assistance is down an order throughout the past year members of themitt subcommittee heard from order to fulfill the representatives of various initiatives processing models for future again it might cross functional team. all along, dba indicated significant support and training from central office would be critical in this rollout. on top of the challenges on april 2013, va announced that all cases pending in excess of one you would be completed by the conclusion of fiscal year
2013. based on the new push instituted many months of mandatory overtime for its employees. bothers to consult on whether va employees were able to issue decisions of high quality within the extradited timeframe, there's also concerns that many of the oldest claims in fact were highly complex. regional office employees have previously reported that claims processes of passover difficult cases and would routinely decide to call at easy claims first in order to meet the production goals of the workload and workload credit parameters. thus it would stand to reason that many of these 2-year-old and 1-year-old claims cited in the past quarter constitute the challenging workload. today we will hear about a focus issue, which ties into the va's initiatives and highlights the clear necessity of uniformed
central office support and thorough employee training. today's focus is on the complex claims in the special ops lanes to include multi-claims this luster might reinjury, posttraumatic stress, military trauma and claims involving special monthly compensation just to name a few. while va reported in november of this year that complex claims, which take an exceptional time to require special handling on the const to 10% of va's workload, these claims require highly competent, educated and experienced attention. it is importantly decisions rendered in his complex claims often have tremendous effect on the lives of these veteran. within va strategic plan refresh for fiscal year 2011 to fiscal year 2015, the department of veteran affairs noted no fewer than three times the strategic
lan is results driven and back while we would be measured by our accomplishments and honor promises. so today we went to your accomplishments. what is going on in this high-stakes highly restless claims processing environment? collis employee focused on the development of issues than what is working and what's not working? also, much here but the folks at best edition of the out sub inspector general to look at specific complicated claims on an annual basis within the regional office. reviews of va oig reports as well as recent veteran testimonials are alarming. in the past four years at least 19 regional offices have been inspected by the oig on more than half the decrease in a claims processing accuracy with respect to commit brain injuries. the reports indicate the oig
visit to the 10 regional office evidenced more errors than the initial visit. with respect to temporary 100% disabled claims, while improvements have been made on half of the offices are in fact it still could not process 50% of these claims correctly on their second inspection. there's still no other word for this but i'm except the bull feared at this time, i would like to welcome our witnesses. we will have three panels here today. currently seeded are the participants. panel one include ms. is lower in united states navy retired accompanied by mr. james price, also united states navy retired to our hero we have for veteran warriors here to mr. price's last is ms. betty mcknight, a company by mr. glenn bergmann, partner at bergmann more llc. after the conclusion, we will
hear from mr. sherman gilman, associate director for veterans benefits with your last veterans of america. mr. ronald abrams for the national veteran legal program and mr. zach hearn, deputy director for claims at the american legion. finally, the third panel we will hear from mr. tom murphy, director compensation service or company name by ms. edna macdonald, director for national regional office. the third panel will host ms. ms. sondra mccauley, deputy assistant inspector general for audit and evaluations with office of inspector general u.s. department of veterans affairs who will be accompanied by mr. brent arronte, director of san diego benefits inspections division. additionally the hearing record will include written statements from disabled american veterans. the tragedy assistance program
for survivors than ms. schaffer's wife of the veterans with instructions complete, thank you for being here today. i now yield to the ranking member for her opening statement. >> well, thank you, mr. chairman. and thank you wrote in this important hearing. i also like to thank the witnesses here today for their time and trouble to come and share information with us. first, i want to applaud the va for reducing the benefit by 34% in march of 2014. we know the va can maintain this momentum and we are optimistic. we want to end this decade-long backlog and we are moving in that direction. our numbers indeed show the va is on track to reach the secretary's goal by 2015. i would ask you to relay a message to the people who work for the va and tell them thank you for their efforts and to
please keep up the good work. as the vba continues to work through this transformation, it is very important that we are working together towards solutions that will improve the process of providing benefits to veterans benefits that they've earned him i want him to be provided in the most timely and efficient manner possible. so we need to be forward-looking and so we can address the next issues rather than just the problems from the past. we want to be able to anticipate what is coming down the road so we don't create any new backlog issues. earlier this year, our subcommittee work on a package of bills that are forward-looking and i believe would help the va provide better services to our veterans. the house has passed many of these measures. they were bipartisan measures and i hope the senate will take them up and send them onto the president for his signature. one of the bill specifically was
my bill, pay as you rates, which i think is appropriate to today's topic is to look at complex cases that have more than one issue involved with them. this bill would require the va to pay veterans of each of their individual medical conditions is completed. such an approach would result in veterans throughout southern nevada in my district in the country in receiving their payments in a more timely manner rather than waiting until the entire case is adjudicated, which can be very complex as well here. they can get pieces done as they go along. additionally, it seems that such an approach would offer the va better workload management options for some of the best va regional offices could specialize on this medical conditions, which have proven to be more challenging than our complex such as military trauma and traumatic brain injury. my colleague, ranking member has introduced a bill that would provide veterans with better decisions in a timely manner by doing just that.
look forward to seeing that logo reappeared i'm proud to say we seem to be making progress that's reducing the backlog, but they're still clunkiness in the operations and effect of nicer lack of effectiveness. for example, i'm concerned the va may be oversimplifying over complicated and complex medical can nations. the va has essentially broken down the coding system with nearly a t the va has essentially broken down the coding system with nearly a thousand different medical conditions and atmosphere ripples into just three lanes. easy, medium and hard. that seems a pretty simplified way of working at all these different variables. when you define complexity is a number of medical conditions and claims, i am not sure that is inadequate way of looking at it. it is important to note the number of conditions doesn't necessarily dictate the complexity of the entire claim. this method of evaluating
complexity make sense in a paper processing world, but as we look forward now to best practices, i believe complexity should be measured not just by the number of conditions, but rather by the complexity of evaluating and paying for the medical conditions that are under consideration. it's important to va look across all 56 regional offices to determine what our best practices for assigning the complicated work. we believe the vba can work with vbms to ensure the best employees are working on the most challenging cases. this subcommittee and i thank the chairman for his work on this weekend for his cooperative finance with our site of the aisle. the va's share a common goal and that is ensuring veterans receive the best benefits in a timely fashion. i think we can continue to work
together as a committee with the va to develop these tools and best practices and i look forward to hearing your testimony and see what options may be available to us as we move forward. with that, i yield back. thank you, mr. chairman. >> thank you, ms. titus. with that, i ask unanimous consent that chairman miller and the ranking member be able to participate in our hearing today. hearing no objections, so ordered. at this time, i would welcome our first panel to the table. your complete and written statements will be entered in the hearing record. mr. and mrs. price, thank you for your service and for being here this afternoon. mrs. price coming are now recognized for five minutes for your oral testimony. >> thank you, chairman. chairman runyan, ranking member of nine, members of the panel,
better and faster to express gratitude for inviting ourselves as delegates to represent their views on the va's handling of complex claims and the challenges that are faced with most of this panel has no idea who veterans awareness is. it's exactly what it sounds like. we are just a bunch of veterans. but we are specialists that come from a wide variety of fields and bring in some cases decades of experience table in the team. our perl-based is to do with not just complex claims, but all issues relating to the va function. in particular, i am a combat that. i served in the navy for seven years before i was medically retired. i contracted a terminal lung disease in iraq. i also crushed both of my hands, parts of my hands and had to have my hands rebuild. i am 100% disabled.
i can no longer work in my life expectancy now is probably less than two years. my husband is my primary caregiver. i don't need anything from the va any longer. my complicated claim took four years to adjudicate. not once enough for years that i ever present one single piece of new evidence. the entire claim was submitted fully developed in its entirety before i was discharged from the navy. i am here not to represent my claim are my issues. my husband and i are here to make sure that this panel and everyone that will listen to us all understand that cases like my own and unfortunately likenesses mcnutt's are not isolated. i personally have dealt with at this time almost 1000 cases just in the last six months of
veterans and spouses and children who are dealing with complex claims that are being denied over and over and over again for being lowballed and zero rated. we are not adsl. we're not a veterans service organization by any means. our sole purpose is to work to get resolution to the manner in which the va is conducting business. however, we are not going to sit here and lie to anybody. we are going to make sure everyone understands that we do not agree with giving kudos to the va. over the last 12 years, the majority of the veteran that have come home and come into the system have filed complex claims. this was in a secret to the va. they were well aware of what was coming home. you have a demographic of veterans that have spent its full deployment come in various hostile environments, home.
they are better educated now than they ever have been in history. they're also equipped with technology available that at a moment's notice can get information to virtually any question you have regarding benefits. the va pictures this as a disaster waiting to happen because these are the veteran that are filing complex claims. on november 7th, secretary shin seki took credit for reducing the backlog by one third since march. we caution this panel and everyone involved with va claims to don't take that as gospel. it's a big part of the claims process and that they are not telling people. the most insignificant type of claim is not a medical claim. it is called a dependent status change. you get married, have a child,
get divorced, your child features out. it is one document with one attachment from your marriage certificate, divorce decree, what have you. those going to claims. they are adjudicated right alongside him unless a terminal lung disease for agent orange illnesses. unfortunately, those claims and we have been able to prove it to the subcommittee, those are the claims that they are closing and calling close in adjudicated. unfortunately, that does help numbers come down. we ask that every time you get a new report on the va's numbers, you look at a cautious way. you question the data. they are not sending in screenshots of their work products. they are creating reports. there is almost no transparency